Sunday, September 30, 2007

So this is one of the bridges here in Sentani that was washed out with the flooding. In the last photo you can see the new one being built on the left and a temporary one down to the right. This temporary bridge is officially one way, the opposite way the motorbikes in the photo are going. Motorbikes are allowed both ways. We live on the far side of the bridge right now and will be moving to the other side this week. This morning I went to church and crossed this bridge and it took me about five minutes. To go home, I can't go back across this bridge but I have to go up the hill, past our new house and around and then down way on the other side of town. This takes an extra twenty minutes. Not because it is so far, but because of the condition of the roads. The roads we need to drive were not designed for heavy traffic and are quite narrow. But because there has been countless numbers of big heavy dump trucks and fuel trucks and all other vehicles travelling this road, it has become rather potholey and the shoulder of the road is actually eroding away. So it is a bit of an obstacle course as you navigate the road and you reach speeds of a whopping 40 km per hour at the good parts. The local government says that they want all the new bridges to be done by December so that they fall into the budget for this fiscal year. Apparently there have been bonuses promised to the workers if they get it done on time. Let's hope so because this sure makes travelling a challenge here! That's why I love to use the motorbike to get around. But once we are moved into our new house, Hugo will need the motorbike to get to and from work so I'll have to use an MAF car. We pay by the kilometre to use them.
On the other photos you can see the footbridge that foot traffic needs to use to cross the river. Really well built eh? Love how they hammered the support board onto the wrong side of the slats... That's Mikah and a friend crossing on the second photo.
Humourous note:
The Indonesian language isn't nearly as wordy as ours. They get by with way less words, but that also means that sometimes a word can have two very different meanings.
Mabok: means drunk and it also means to be car sick

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

More wildlife...

This was my shower friend this morning... But alas, his life was shortlived as it met an untimely end with the crash of a large sneaker.... Whew... My heart was beating pretty fast at that point. I have no idea if this guy was poisonous or not, I'm just relieved that I can say "was"...
We are now counting down the days until we can move into our new house. On Saturday a pembantu is coming to help me clean the house in preparation for our Monday move. This will also be a chance for me to talk with this woman and interview her as a possible two or three day a week helper for me. I have given it a go without a helper and have found that I just can't do it. There is so much dust here that your house gets dirty every day over again. The windows need to be cleaned weekly and there are about thirty panes for each window... you do the math... Never mind all the other stuff that needs to be done. There are lots of ladies who want to work for me in that nice new house so I should be able to find someone.
The kids are doing great. The three oldest are enjoying school and have all made friends. Once we move they will all be living a lot closer to their friends and will be able to play with them after school and Saturdays. They are also very excited about opening our crates and seeing all our stuff again. Marc loves preschool. He sure is more tired on those days though. Brynnie is quite a stinker still and loves to not listen, but she is so cute we just forgive her.
Hugo is still busy fixin things. There's always something that needs to be fixed. They are also working on ordering some new instruments for some of the aircraft. He also trains the newer young guy whenever the opportunity arises. There is no avionics school around so this guy only has general electronics training.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Brynnie's Two!!

Our "baby" turned two today. I can't believe it, sniff... She has turned into quite a little lady who loves:

her big sister
to play with her big brother Marc
all things chocolate
to be naughty
to giggle
to climb
to swing
apple juice
to go for walks, especially to see Daddy at the hangar
to ride on the motorbike
shoes, shoes and shoes....
Yesterday Hugo and I went to Jayapura and all the towns inbetween there and here to see if we could find some beds. The Togeretz girls babysat for us. We didn't find one bed we liked enough to buy. Everything was either ultra modern, and pressboard, or really tacky. So it looks like we'll have to get some beds made. Plus beds here are a different size. A twin bed here is three inches longer and three inches narrower than North American beds. It doesn't make sense since 99% of Indonesians are really short... We also found some light sabres for the boys. They were rather thrilled. Shopping for toys here is horrid. 98% of all the toys available use batteries. For example, we bought Brynnie a cute little kompor, a counter top gas stove (of course Brynnie's doesn't use gas, it uses... batteries...) that comes with a plastic fried egg, plastic ground beef, plastic fish and some plastic veggies along with a frying pan and pot. So I put some batteries in it and turned it on and it plays a horrible annoying song... and you can make the lights on the "burners" light up. What's the point of that??? We also bought Mikah a skipping rope. Of course there are no plain ones, there's only one that has a counter on one handle, which Mikah thinks is neat, and a button that plays exercise music on the other. It is soooo hilarious. We put the batteries in and pushed the button and it plays like aerobics music... "and up and down and up and down, you can do it!!" Thankfully it stops on its own after about half a minute. Brynnie's doesn't stop unless you turn it off. So maybe we're crazy to actually put batteries in, but you know, the things we do for our kids....
Of course, this bad boy takes three AA batteries... but it's soooo cool...

Thursday, September 20, 2007


This morning at breakfast we could hear these pigs squealing incredibly loudly as they were being tied up to be shipped to a village. The second photo is of them being loaded into the plane on a wooden frame. They later had to be unloaded again as the flight was cancelled. Pigs are quite regularly shipped out to villages where pig raising is an important part of the economy. If they don't get new pigs every now and then there is too much interbreeding happening. Also people from villages will bring their pigs to Sentani to sell at the market. The other day one of the pilots was flying a live pig, which costs a lot more to ship than a dead one, and it died in flight. It turns out that the snout had been tied too tightly and it suffocated. Thankfully, the owner of the pig, who was also on board was not angry about it. It was he, after all, who had supervised the tying up of the animal.
Tonight we had a new friend come by for a visit. This lovely little tree frog has been hanging around in front of our house this evening.
Brynnie, it turns out, has an ear infection and yesterday we started her on antibiotics and she is doing better now but still not 100%. I also took her to the doctor today to see if we can try something else to get rid of her skin bacteria. So we're trying a different medicine for that. Hopefully it does the trick.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007


Today Brynnie was extremely cranky again. In the morning her fever was bad but it got better as the day went on, unfortunately she didn't... Uggghhh, she was sooooo whiny today. Anyways, her malaria test came back negative so we are very thankful for that. Hopefully she is better tomorrow.

This week a few MAF pilots landed for the first time at this strip in the village of Maniwo home of the Moi people. They were very excited to have an MAF plane land in their village. It takes many years to get a strip carved out of the jungle and then approved by the government and then by MAF. The sign in the first photo says, "I love MAF". And yes, that is a bare bum you are seeing on the bottom right hand side. There are still many folks here who wear traditional dress. Not here in Sentani though... thankfully....
Our little Brynnie has had a fever for a day and a half now. It is fairly high and yesterday Tylenol didn’t bring it down a whole lot. Thankfully a nurse lives next door to us and checked her out. We’ve done a blood slide to check for malaria and today we will bring it to the most reliable slide checker in Sentani. There are other places but the accuracy rate is not that great. The other day they said a woman didn’t have malaria whereas the more accurate woman said she did. Normally you can have false positives but false negatives are strange. So that’s the kind of thing we deal with here. Medical care in Indonesia is not great. Thankfully there is an American doctor here in Sentani and another one in Wamena, a large interior city. There are also a bunch of nurses from America and Australia and they do a great job keeping everyone healthy. They run a clinic up at the international school. Their main job is keeping the students healthy but anyone else from the expat community may go there as well. The one thing that is really lacking here though, is a good lab. To give you an idea of how hard these ladies work to keep everyone healthy, they actually have bird flu vaccine ready in case there’s a break out.
Mikah is also home from school today as she has a bad cold and yesterday had mild fever. Hopefully tomorrow she will be able to return to school.
Never a dull moment!

Sunday, September 16, 2007

This is a photo of Marc's class on their field trip last week to Yajasi. Yajasi is the mission aviation division of SIL. The kids got to sit in the cockpit of this plane and Marc was so thrilled.
Yesterday I took Mikah out for a bit of shopping. First we stopped at the mall that is being built here in Sentani. Yes, there is actually a mall in the process... quite unbelievable really. And what's even funnier is that this mall contains the first set of escalators around. There is one store that has opened in the mall so far, the rest is far from finished, and you need to go up the escalators to get to it. It is soooo funny to watch people who've never ever seen an escalator before try to figure out how to get on. Then we went to the market. I thought it would be fun for Mikah to see and smell it. Her comments,"It was stinky and crowded." She couldn't bear to watch the chicken lady cutting up chickens. The fact that the chickens still had eyes really bothered her.... In the afternoon Hugo took the kids to the pool. There is actually a pool here. It was built a long time ago and then neglected until last June. A family that has lived here for a long time took charge and cleaned it all up and painted it. If you want to use the pool you need to become a member and a membership lasts for six months. So they've hired a couple guys to take care of things and guard the pool so that it doesn't get vandalized and so far things are working out really well. And the great thing is that our new house is just around the corner, we can walk there. I took a tour of our house on saturday on my way up to meet Hugo and the kids. It is looking really great and they are sure that in two weeks we can move in. I can't tell you how thrilled we are!! They've done a really great job on the house and it will be great for our family.
Today I went to church with the three oldest and it was a full house. Quite literally as we meet in a house.... I think there were as many westerners as there were Indonesians. The minister had a sermon on Ruth and how amazing it was that God chose a Gentile woman to be an ancestor of Jesus. I find it kind of humorous how they often talk about being rich or being able to buy all the rice you need. We in the west, in general, take it for granted that we will be able to buy the food we need to live. Here it is not a given and many live day to day. So you really see the difference in thinking. Their idea of rich is having lots of food.... and a tv.....
Selamat Hari Minggu!!

Saturday, September 15, 2007


Just to let you know that yes, Indonesia has been rocked by a numer of earthquakes in the past few days. However, we live very, very far away from that area. The earthquakes have occurred around Sumatra, the same place that the tsunami and earthquake occurred a few years ago. This is like living in Vancouver and and earthquake happens in Eastern Canada.
Please do pray for the people of Western Indonesia as there are many who've lost homes and
family members.
This isn't a fabulous map, but we live at the red dot below the arrow and the earthquakes occurred around the island circled in red.

Thursday, September 13, 2007


In Aidan's class each child has an "ice cream cone" that is used for discipline. If they get into trouble they have to take the cherry off. If they get into trouble again, they take a scoop off and so one. Aidan, following in the grand tradition of Moesker guys, tends to get into his share of trouble. Today he lost his cherry and 2 scoops. So he had to stay in during recess and draw these pictures of what he did and what he should have done. Love the detail.... (looks like he really wanted to be inside drawing a picture....)
Today I had my big check-out ride to Abe, a city about a half hour away. Freaky... In this place, there is a centre line on the road. I still remember when they put it on four years ago, by hand... But that centre line is really just wishful thinking on the part of the local city planners (if there are such types here). The line is crossed frequently irregardless of oncoming traffic or corners. So not only was I driving a standard vehicle, a brand new Nissan Panther no less, on the left side of the road, shifting with my left hand and signalling with my right.... But there's all this traffic, that doesn't obey any sort of traffic laws, to stay in constant awareness of. Here, when making a turn that causes you to cross the opposing lane of traffic, you have to do a shoulder check on both sides as you never know if a motorbike, going the same way as you will decided to whip in and turn ahead of you... Anyways, we made it there safely and home safely. Whew! Not sure when I want to do that again...
Hugo is currently having fun working on MAD (Mike, Alpha, Delta), one of the Cessna Grand Caravan's in the MAF fleet here. Apparently he and his gang found quite a few problems on it. That's Hugo's favourite thing, figuring out problems and how to fix them!

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

These are the little guys that we share our house with. Sometimes the kids catch them.... and sometimes I find their droppings in the Tupperware bowls....
This is how Hugo keeps himself fresh and clean for his work in the Avionics shop.... Too funny eh? There is actually a whole line of these soaps for pilots and mechanics etc...
The school here is in desperate need for a grade two teacher for January. If there is anyone who is looking for an adventure teaching here: please contact me.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

These are photos of the old ZGK "compound" where my uncle Keith and Aunt Coby lived for a number of years back in the 1980's (I think). There is no one from the mission living there anymore, in fact it is up for sale.

These are some photos of our new house in progress. The middle photo is taken from the front door so you can see from the living room to the dining area. We can hardly wait to take up residence there!
Yesterday I went to the market on our motorbike for the first time. It was fun! I think I'm going to get a tatoo - "Biker Chick", I'm a convert!!
The kids are doing great. The three oldest are loving school. Mikah has a small class of 7 students, 3 girls and 4 boys. Christiaan has a bigger class of 15 and his teacher is from Northern Ireland. Unfortunately she will be going home in December as she is expecting her first child. So if anyone out there can teach grade two and is looking for an adventure, let us know! Aidan's class has about 10 students and is also very multicultural. There's Koreans, Dutch/Indonesian, Haitian, Canadian, American, etc... kids in his class. Aidan is going through an adjustment period again. But he is doing better. We are concerned that he may have a form of dyslexia so we are exploring that right now. Thankfully there is someone here who can help him and she is great. She also works with Christiaan on his speech. It is really great to have this service even though we are on the other side of the world living in a third world country! Marc started preschool and seems to enjoy it. It will be a learning experience for him too. Brynnie did not enjoy it at all when Marc was in school. She really missed him.... oh boy this is going to be a fun year.... Brynnie is still her busy funny self. She makes us laugh and cry all day long.
Hugo is still loving working here. There is so much for him to do which is great. This past week all the MAF pilots and mechanics on the island came here to Sentani for meetings. This happens periodically and they talk about stuff like safety and plans etc... So we got to spend a little bit of time with Justin Koens so that was neat.
I survived my first week sans pembantu. It was pretty crazy, also because I had to be gone a few mornings, but I survived!!! This week I will have my check-out ride in an MAF vehicle to make sure that I am okay driving here. Looking forward to that! More freedom!!
Hope you all have a good Sunday! Selamat Hari Minggu!!

Thursday, September 06, 2007


Well, today I received my ticket to freedom! This morning Hugo, Brynne and I went to Jayapura with one of the MAF guys from the office. We parked in the parking lot of the tallest building in Jayapura, surprise surprise, the parking lot of Bank Papua. Then we walked to the police station. There we went to the drivers license section and made our presence known. Yesterday the MAF guy had gone and done some of the prep work for us to get our SIM’s (licenses). So we really didn’t have to wait long and then we were asked to sign a million different documents and then make two thumb prints. Then we were sent to the room next door, which had a sort of functioning airconditioner. There we had our photo taken, by computer no less, and our thumb prints also rescanned into the computer using our actual thumb and not the prints we had already made. The equipment in the office was quite hilarious. They had an old computer with no cover on the box, all circuit boards etc. were exposed, and their state of the art 15 inch monitor was propped up on an old dot matrix printer. Way funny… But the process went very smoothly and we were in and out quite quickly. So, we didn’t have to do a written test or a road test and we both have our car and motorbike licenses for five years! Another funny thing is that normally everyone living here has to go to the police station and immigration once a year for finger printing. Yes, every year even though your finger prints won’t change. However, even though it has been 3.5 years since we left Papua, we were given special permission not to have to go through this ordeal. The MAF guy, who obviously has more than a few friends there, got us this special permission! Gotta love him! What a relief that was, not to have to go to Jayapura, a one hour drive down a very windy, hilly road, with five kids, two of whom regularly get car sick and actually throw up… I wanted to kiss him, I really did… So after that was all done, we went to Gramedia. This is a new store to Papua, but there are lots in Bandung. You can buy books, school supplies, sports equipment, musical instruments and some toys there. We were quite excited that they have one here as usually they have good quality stuff. I bought a snorkel set with flippers. After using the one we bought at Superstore for 12.99 when we went to the beach, I was looking for something that would actually keep the salt water away from my eyes… Success!! Can’t wait to use it now…. Then we went to a store that has a fair bit of imported food. I actually found cherry tomatoes and mozzarella there! Very exciting! Then we went back to Abepura and I found strawberries, and boneless, skinless chicken breast and broccoli and seedless grapes and kiwis!!! I am telling you, the kids were so excited when they saw all that stuff… It was a good day of shopping that’s for sure! (I’m told a boat had recently come into the harbour there with lots of imported stuff so we hit it right.) I didn’t take any photos of our day, sorry… But I will post a photo of the newest member of our family. Which I can now legally drive, look out everyone! I practiced around the compound today and will do a little more of that before heading onto a real road with other traffic… Before I can drive any MAF vehicle I have to do a check-out drive with the base manager. Aparently we will go for quite a drive. It’s been well over a year since I last drove a car and now I have to drive on the “wrong” side of the road with the steering wheel on the “wrong” side of the car… should be fun…
P.S. Check out the wicked brake pedal... a young guy owned this bike before us...
Wow, things are pretty crazy these days. My pembantu, who is actually the pembantu of the family that normally lives in the house we are currently living in, has decided to quit. So.... I’ve been one busy little beaver these past two days. I guess this lady was already planning to quit once the family got back from furlough as she was mad at the wife. It is unfortunate as she has been treated very well by this wife. But in the past couple years it has become harder and harder to find a good pembantu. A lot of people don’t want to work hard or suffer from neversatisfieditis. There is a lot more money floating around Papua these days. The government of Indonesia has allowed more money to stay in the province. Last time we were living here I did not see Papuans with the kind of money that I am seeing now. The other day I was at the local mini “Superstore” and I saw some guys buy a battery operated jeep for a child that cost more than three million rupiahs! That’s insane! Anyways, more and more people are choosing simply to not have a pembantu at all. I have to admit that that is a tempting thought but realistically I don’t think I could do it. There are too many other things that take much more time than they do back home – mostly food related things. I guess my pembantu wasn’t happy that I wasn’t going to pay her more than she had been making for the other MAF wife even though on a week to week basis, she was working the same number of hours. So I may start looking around for someone or just hang in there and try to do without. The floor won’t get washed every day... Oh well...

Today we witnessed a new pilot’s first solo flight and upon landing the local workers all doused him with water in the traditional MAF ritual that all new pilots go through upon completion of their first solo flight. Today it was a friend from Bandung who was initiated. Normally the pilot has to bring a load to an airstrip and then come back, but today the weather was so bad that all the flights turned around and came back without reaching their destinations. The photo of the larger airplane with people exiting is just that. These people had hoped to fly out a week ago but that flight was also cancelled and today again they didn’t get back to their village. So they have to wait again...

P.S. Uncle Keith, do you recognize the man in the glasses in the one photo?

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Beach Day

Today we went to the beach! Going to the beach is quite an adventure here.We used an old MAF vehicle that we fondly call "The Whale" seeing as it'sbig and it's blue. It is also old so the drive is rather bouncy. We went together with the Togeretz family in the van and were followed by the DeHaan's and two other families. The drive is about 45 minutes along a narrow windy road that was originally built by the American army. There are more than a few hairpin turns... But we made it safe and sound to the dock.It was raining when we arrived but cleared up later in the morning. At the dock we had to negotiate a price for someone to take us to the beach intheir boat. You don't want to swim in the water by the dock as all thehouses around the inlet dump their sewage into the ocean... Yummy... So you don't want to go when the tide is out... So we negotiated a boat andoff we went. You of course don't pay them until they have safely returned you to the dock at the end of the day. The boat ride is about 15 minutes. It is really beautiful. Sometimes there are dolphins that will swim around you, but not today.

Then we arrived at a little piece of paradise consisting of a few little shelters with palm leaf roofs. Behind the shelters is a fresh water pool (the photo of Christiaan on a horizontal palmtree). And yes, the palm tree from Pearl's first post after we arrived here is still there, only this time the kids were jumping off it. One of the MAF pilots here owns a boat and he came by and gave the kids rides. We also did a little snorkeling and saw some really neat fish. Some of the folks with us are very avid snorkelers
and go out with nets to catch neat fish fortheir personal aquariums. In the photo of the bucket you can see some ofthe catches of the day. The water is quite salty so you just float on top and snorkeling is no work at all! So, we had a great day which ended withus buying a motorbike. When we got home a guy from the MAF office was waiting for us to bring Hugo to look at a bike that his friend was selling. Clarence T. went along to check it out too and all agreed it was a nice bike for a good price. So come Monday, we will be the official owners of a Honda 125cc bebek (duck). So I'll have to do some practicing around the compound in the coming days...

Here are some photos that I took today around Sentani. There’s the MAF hangar with three planes in it. That big one is our amphib 208 Grand Caravan that can land on land or water. Very cool huge thing... Marc was quite impressed with it. There’s an Indonesian girl mechanic that works for MAF, how cool is that?

The big yellow and pink building is the mini Superstore we shop at. (I can walk there from the compound) It has everything from stoves and fans to clothes to watches to hairdryers to motorcycle helmets to frozen sandwich meat to mayonnaise to diapers to shampoo, to margarine from Australia and cheese from New Zealand... you get the idea... This place used to be one floor and that floor was half the size of a current one. But a couple years ago they had a fire and then completely rebuilt the place.
The other photo is of a beetle nut stand. Remember the nuts that give you the nasty red saliva? I’m sad to see that in the photo you can see a student buying some.